Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Recommended Reading

For all you USMNT team supporters, and anyone new to soccer, I suggest reading this wrap up from The Shin Guardian.


I particularly agree with the Cherundolo and M. Bradley exceeding expectations assessments and that Jozy disappointed.

Landon Donovan

Is it just me or does Donovan's personality one that has trouble translating to late night television?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

shoot out part 2

So 1. I think I get a little credit for semi-calling the shoot out in today's first game!

2. Trey Wingoz just asked on Twitter: worse way to end a game: Penalty kicks in soccer, or overtime rules in college football?

Honestly, I like both of those options. College overtime rule may seem a little "sissy." but come on! its college. And it adds strategy to the game. on a fourth down, do you kick it, knowing the other team could beat you with a touchdown? or do you go for it and risk no points?!!?!! I like it! and penalty kicks, PENALTY KICKS! is there anything more intense? In "American" football we make a big deal about a place kicker and the pressure of making a winning field goal at the end of the game. PKs are like the same thing, but more. Does it kind of suck that one team can lose because one player missed, or because one keeper made a great save? yeah, a little. but hey, that's the game. don't want it to come down to that? then win during regular time. You get 120 minutes!

Overtime rules will never be universally liked, but I'm standing firm that @wingoz is a fool on this one!


About an hour ago on twitter I stated my desire for a shoot out...

A friend shared this link with me. Combining everything I love in life. Humor, The Packers, making fun of the Eagles, and a soccer term.


Monday, June 28, 2010

DeMarcus Beasley just posted this pic on twitter. Makes me feel a lot better seeing them all smiling.

Ricardo Clark serenading the team with a vuvuzela on the return flight.


1. I am still alive and functioning.

Those of you who know me, know that in general, I do NOT take losses well. See 2006 Rosebowl or my broken tv after the GB/TB game in 1995 for examples. But I think I manage to handle this one okay. Perhaps it was the 5 stella's and numerous American Bomb Pop shots, or perhaps it was the fact that from the second we walked on to the field, this game felt a little off. But I am up, managing to not completely hate the world and am still watching soccer. (fyi, the netherlands just scored)....

American Shots

2. I have not managed to re watch the game yet - and I'm not sure when I'll be emotionally stable enough to do so

Therefore any observation right now, is probably half emotion filled, half alcohol filled, and half logic filled.

I'm not really sure what happened to Bob Bradley in this game; but this was not the coaching that we have come to know from him. I said before the send off games, Bradley's ability to pick the right formations and game plans and his ability to make proper adjustments would be crucial to our run. Prior to Saturday's game, he was impressing me. Picking the right line ups, showing patience and wisdom when it came to subs - and then bam Saturday all that goes out the window.

Ricardo Clark. I'm a homer. I like him. But clearly something wasn't right in his game on Saturday. I'm guessing that he was started over Edu because he is a more defensive player. And I get that a change was needed. And at the time, I was behind the mid-first half sub, but after the game and with some reflection time, I'm still not sure A. Why did Clark start? and B. Why was he subbed out so early?

Ghana is a quick team, but they're not overly fancy or more talented up top than any of the other teams we have faced. Why Bradley felt the need to take off mid field creativity for an extra defensive man is beyond me. We were losing the battle through the mid all day. We needed strength there.

Bradley is not a first half sub kind of guy. Even when Torres was getting worked, we waited until the half. We've almost fallen into a pattern of two subs at the half, one post 60th minutes. We're a wait and see team. By making the sub so early, Bradley showed me that clearly he was not fully behind his plan, nor was he really trusting the team that he put on the pitch to be able to come together and get the job done. I have never been a fan of changing the way you do things are you progress further into a tournament or post season play.

2b. We did not rise to the occasion. We shy'd away from it.

I do not believe that we overlooked Ghana. I think we just never stopped looking at Algeria. We were so pumped and affected by that moment. That instead of using it to galvanize us, we relished in it and never moved on. I do believe that many of the players who were on the pitch on Saturday will feel regret. As not everything was left out there. One noticeably for me, is Jozy Altidore.

Again, I'm a fan. SB is not. So I do spend some time having to defend him, but Saturday's showing clearly demonstrated to me that Altidore has a lot to learn. He was not our go to striker. And having relative new comers up top with him, he needed to carry that weight better. I'm hoping that he gets picked up by another European side and learns and grows a lot between now and the next gold cup. He's a monster athlete and the US needs him.

3. I am happy with what Bradley has done with this team. But also, I can hardly wait to see what our next coach can do. The 2011 Gold Cup will determine who will play in the next confederations cup. Bradley has taken us on a good ride, but I am confident that we can go further and that there are other options out there available to us (Klingsman?!????).

So this girl is taking this loss in stride. Hell, at least Italy, France, and England are also all back home watching too. :) And I'm going to focus on the next step, the return of Charlie D and the future of the USMNT.

Anyone want to start planning viewing parties for the GOLD CUP?!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Soccer Rants

my good friend, and overall good person, Brad has started a soccer blog.

Soccer Rants

June 23, 2010; the best day ever!

So lets all just say it together "Today was the BEST DAY EVER!"

(you'll note if you become a frequent reader, I really like to list things)

1. Today started last night with the viewing of Espn's 30 for 30 "The Two Escobars". Fantastic film; well told; great/tragic story. Pretty much should be required viewing anytime, but especially now during the world cup. My summation of the film: Columbia combined violence, drugs, and soccer and rose to greatness. Only two out of the three survived.

2. This morning I received a twitter message asking if I would like to be a guest blogger/panelist on Packer Transplants. Yes! A thousand times yes! Talking/typing Packers with people that appreciate Packers (and understand football), is like a gift from heaven for this girl! (side note: show ended up being cancelled but I was promised a spot on a show during training camp! CAN'T WAIT!)

3. The USA game. Oh where, oh where to begin. I was in charge of giving "Joers quality updates" to a friend, who's from Nigeria, LOVES England and likes the USA. I think my thumbs hurt from texting :). England scored in the 23rd. My stomach remained in knots until Donovan saved all. People at work did find me some Tums, so that helped....

First off, I definitely 100% approve of not starting/playing Spector. 1. I don't think Onyewu was playing that bad, but I'm guessing that his form just wasn't where Bradley wanted it to be for this crucial match. 2. Spector played like garbage against the Czech Republic! And saying garbage is me being nice. Yes, there were a lot of other tactical issues that the US had that day, but Spector was slow, lazy and never where he was supposed to be. I don't care if he has more experience; if he's sucking he's not playing. So I was all behind the Bornstein pick. Immediately made me think back to the last game in qualifying and the last minute header; and I worried that this too would be a nail biter.

I believe that the US played a solid game. The Dempsey goal should have stood (and would have given me TONS of fantasy points as he was my captain!!!). And really the woodwork was killing us. Seven shots on goal to their two midway through the second half and it was still zero zero.

Bob Bradley made me appreciate his ability to adjust the team even more. He knows how to might slight tactical changes, and when and where to insert fresh legs and talent.

Donovan sure has a lot of haters, but let's all agree that for at least a little while, he's our hero.

4. Since the US won the group, they will play Saturday and I will be in MKE for the game. Made plans to watch game with the bestest of best friends! Can't wait!

5. While talking about being in mke for the game with AP reporter friend on twitter mentioned that I watched the game online while working. He's doing a story about people who watch the games while working. He called and interviewed me!

6. Germany won its group, and Ghana moves on. USA is paired with Ghana. Hey, let's avenge 2006!! And we're in the grouping with Uruguay and South Korea. I'm preferring this to the Mexico/Argentina/Germany fun that England has.

7. While ALL of this was going on, two young men, who I had never heard of played the longest match in tennis history. The Isner/Mahut Wimbeldon match was called at 10 hours with game 5 tied at 59-59. Will be continued tomorrow! Insane times.

8. And now I get to go celebrate the USA win with my bestest boy SB and bestest sister!

Can you tell I like the word bestest??

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

WC brief wrap up

As we start the final leg of the group stage, I thought I'd take a look back at a couple of things that I have learned thus far.

1. I am bad at picking a fantasy team.
2. Latin American countries might end up being the stars of this World Cup. Hello Uruguay y Mexico. And yay for my main guy, Chicharito! Can't wait to see him in a Man U jersey next season!
3. Having a loaded squad does not equal dominance. Hello France, England, Germany, Spain.
4. Having the world on your side and home court does not always provide Disney movie endings. Hello South Africa.
5. Getting a red card or giving up a penalty kick has not been hard; however converting the free kick or penalty kick has been.
6. Apparently the refs only had to be good for one round at a time. Stellar in round one, weak in round two.
7. the 30 for 30 "The two Escobars" premieres tonight. Seeing how at one time it really was a matter of life and death I think we all should be a little concerned for the North Korean team.
8. Rain makes Portugal better; Ronaldo can amuse even himself.
9. Having a crazy coach can sometimes bring out the best; having a calm coach can sometimes bring out a curse filled tirade.
10. Vuvuzelas are the new Beenie Babies. They're here to take over the world people!

My lovely sister is in town this week, so actual posts and reflection will take a back seat. Promise more next week.

Its a little over 24 hours out and I'm anxious! Bring on Algeria. Come on you YANKS!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I would first like to say that I am a Richardo Clark fan and I think he proved my point on Saturday's game. For those doubters, go back and watch him on defense, he's not a Torres kind of mid fielder, but against a squad like England we needed that extra help in the back. Him and Howard seem to be on the same page too, which also helps. More thoughts on the game(s) later.

The main story of this World Cup has been the Vuvuzela. Let me start by saying this: They do annoy the hell out of me. I do miss the chants and drums and all the things that I associate with soccer crowd noise. They do give me a headache. BUT I do not want them banned.

Part of what I love about the World Cup (and also the Olympics) is how the host country is represented through out the events. Do I always enjoy the Olympic opening ceremonies? Thinking back to Canada's, NO. But I do respect that that is part of the event. SB informed me last night that the vuvuzela's have only been a massive part of South African culture for 7 years; not sure his source on this, but frankly I don't care. Part of the joy of hosting the world cup is getting to do it your way, with your people and your culture. I am in no position to tell South Africa how to watch the games, how to attend the games, and what I perceive their culture to be.

People have complained that the noise has drowned out the typical chants and crowd noise of soccer. I agree, but that is my perspective of viewing. The world cup is not supposed to always be from my perspective. That's why its the WORLD CUP.

I still heard the crowd yell "GOOCH" after a good play by Onyewu on Saturday. And the crowd I was with all chanted and provided me with the crowd noise that I am familiar with.

I doubt we will all ever agree on this topic. But I think its time we face it; they are not going anywhere. We can either spend everyday for the next three weeks complaining about them. Or we can create our own atmospheres to watch the games and embrace the international power of this game. I'm choosing the latter.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Well its here. Its after one am edt and today is officially BEAT ENGLAND DAY and HATE ENGLAND DAY! I'm vacationing with SB and his brother and Ally is Cleveland. Phish Show tomorrow night, hoping to be celebrating a great victory well into the night.

I'm going to refrain from any real posts until we get back. Today's games were mixed for me. The South Africa/Mexico match was great, exciting. And yes, he was offsides. The France/Uru game was boring, so boring that I took a half time nap that turned into a half hour nap. But I did enjoy the hand ball issue and it made me realize that I think the only fair way to deal with the Henry handball controversy, is to let each team that France plays in the World Cup get one free hand ball.

The Greece game is not less than 6 hours away, time to prepare!

(side note: I am still a TROJAN and will always be! FIGHT ON! expect a post on it soon.)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Its catching on!

Getting into the World Cup spirit at work. Brackets filled out and up!! Can't wait!

Now we just have to make it to the WC without any more injuries people. Players are dropping like flies!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

News worthy, rants edition

1. Would like to send out a hugely sarcastic thanks and swift kick in the back side to ESPN news for reporting earlier today that US Forward Jozy Altidore was HOSPITALIZED with a sprained ankle. Panic spread throughout the USMNT faithful, which luckily was calmed slightly when it was clarified that he was AT the hospital getting precautionary x-rays which were negative. The US needs Altidore, its still frightening but someone over at copy/edit at ESPN news must know the difference between hospitalized and getting x-rays.

2. It is incredibly sad to me, that according to news reports, legendary coach, John Wooden has died five times tonight. First they report it, then they take it back, then they re-report it. The man is in grave condition in the hospital (FYI espn, Wooden is hospitalized), and is 99 years old. The odds are against him, and I get that at this delicate a juncture verifying stories must be complicated, but before anyone announces I'm dead, I really hope there's some fact checking involved. Man's practically the most influential college coach ever (and sadly a bruin), I think he is owed more dignity than tonight's news flubs are giving him.

waiting is the hardest part....

Word on the street (and by street, I mean twitter) is that the USC announcement has been pushed back until Tuesday.

I guess at least this way, the news won't ruin my weekend.


An update on the Johnny Jolly situation.

I'm really happy he passed the hair folicle drug test.

I'm not really happy that his use of drugs doesn't seem to be the problem; instead Its looking like he "bought, sold, funded, transported and aided in the buying, selling, funding and transportation of illegal narcotics including cocaine and marijuana". Or at least that's what Greg Bedard is reporting of the court documents.

The Packers need to cut this loose. We don't have time for this. Primed to win the division and in for a fight with the Vikings for control, the Packers do not need this distraction, nor do they need Jolly. The time is now to cut him, sign the tender and set him free. Shore up the defensive line during on going OTA's and training camp. We'll be fine; just not so sure he will be.

Let's see that again

Last night I was drinking wine watching Heat with SB. Checked my twitter and it was over run with the name Jim Joyce. Perhaps it was the wine haze, or perhaps it was the fact that I have never heard that name before, I ignored the news and moved on.

Then I woke up this morning and realized that Jim Joyce will probably be the reason for major change in Major League Baseball. After making an honest mistake, and costing Armando Galarraga a perfect game, it is clear that MLB needs instant replay. To me, everyone in the situation, Galarraga and Joyce handled it with class. Joyce admitted his mistake, apologized and honestly feels awful about it. There's nothing more that he can do. There's nothing more that MLB can do about it. I don't think that Selig should overrule it and call it a perfect game. As LOST would say, What Happened, Happened. But clearly changes need to be made going forward. Joyce should have been able to watch the replay and see what everyone else in the world saw, Galarraga's foot was on the bag. I'm hoping baseball does something and soon, because neither Joyce nor Galarraga should be known for a mistake.

Now, in honor of tomorrow's National Donut Day, I am going to eat a donut for free thanks to my work's social committee. Love it!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

This is completely non-sports related, but I wanted to share.

Ever meet someone and just know, This guy, this guy is a good person.

I admit it doesn't happen a lot with me. Generally I'm skeptical. Some might call it cynical, I call it wise. But there are two men that I know that are truly great people. Not just for what they do and have done, but what they stand for and how they carry themselves.

About a year and a half ago SB introduced me to his Grandfather who was in from Florida. Everyone referred to him as the General. Earlier this spring, SB and I planned a trip to Florida and planned to visit the General; we had to plan our trip around his trip to Iwo Jima. Even then, I'll admit, I was naive on his amount of service and dedication to our country. When in his house in Florida, it wasn't the letters from the President or the ceremony honoring him that he described to us that made me realize it; it was a speech he had saved on his DVR from Pearl Harbor Day that he made at the Florida State Capital Building. There he was, this calm, reserved, man with a great sense of humor who I had known only to show me warmth and compassion, who I knew mostly through stories of giving and kind will to his kin, speaking so eloquently on loving, protecting, serving and honoring this country. I have never known a man to embody and exhibit so many things with such little an effort. Teddy Roosevelt might have walked softly and carried a big stick. General Lawrence Snowden walks humbly and carries his heart. He served in three wars, is highly decorated and has such compassion, honor and love. I felt such love for my country, for service men and women, for public servants, and for my fellow country men in the brief moments when we shared General Snowden's company; these moments have never before existed for me, have never been matched, but I carry them with me daily now. So therefore, in light of this great holiday Memorial Day when we give thanks, I not only wish to thank him, who I now am honored to call Papa Lawrence for his service to our country, but his service to his family, to his fellow man and to me;l his love and honor radiate and I am the better for it.

We drove back from Florida and I had much time to sit and ponder things. Our wonderful trip, being thankful that I am able to take time off from work and spend time with family and loved ones. But I also thought about the video that we watched and the other veterans I knew in my life. My Grandpa Lloyd served. He passed when I was 5, before I was able to learn of his stories. My mind wandered back to an old co-worker and dear friend.

Nick and I worked together in Wisconsin. He likes Notre Dame. And has completely polar opposite political views than I. We are both outspoken. And the week leading up to the USC/ND game we would tease each other. Seemingly we had little in common. He served in the Iraq war. I went to grad school. But, and perhaps it was our love for beer, or perhaps it was our love for no non sense people, we became good friends. As a younger vet, more recently back from war, Nick taught me a lot about what it takes to honor one's country. It was a duty he felt was his, and he never complained nor disliked it; he loved/loves his country and I feel confident in saying that he would do it all again and go back if it were necessary. I can also say that I knew for certain that if I ever needed him, he was there for me. He defended me, despite my liberalness and USC-ness with every breath in him. He taught me, that honor and a willingness to defend things you believed in did not just manifest itself on the battle field. It was a daily way of life. It did not mean the willingness to come to arms, it was the willingness to stand tall. He taught me more than anything that there is pride in standing for ones belief's. You don't need to convince everyone to agree with you; you just stand tall with your convictions.

He also helped me understand what it would be like for a person to serve and to come back. And to be completely honest, there were times when I felt nothing but shame. Shame not necessarily that I lived in a country that had such wonderful men and women who were willing to die for it, but did little for them in return; more so Shame that I didn't do more in return. Myself, and we as a country, owe so much to those who have served. Regardless of your opinions of the war(s), of fighting in general, there is a level of honor and love and dedication that I have learned through these two men that needs to be honored right back; that deserves a country that will ensure that after returning home safely that they exist safely. These are people of pride and honor; no one wants a hand out, but they deserve a system where they feel honored and appreciated for their service, not chastised; they deserve a health care system that ensures their bodies and minds are working correctly for the rest of their lives; they deserve mine and everyone else's respect.

These two men, are two of many. Nick Stewart recently told me that dead men tell no tales. I hope that in my brief meager words that I have done them at least a little justice. I encourage anyone who reads this to look up General Snowden - know of his greatness, and to contribute to your local VA chapter to help vets who have recently returned. They were willing to give up their lives for me, and all I have are words; but they are my words, true from my heart, and I hope they both know that I love them, and will honor and remember and respect them till I die, and I will live my life after the examples which they have set.

don't let the door hit you

So today, Liverpool offered Rafa 3 million pounds to quit being the manager of their team.

By writing it that way, it makes it look like they really really want him gone. But truth of it, Rafa probably really wants to look at the Inter job. And Liverpool owes him 16 million pounds, so the longer he stays with both sides not fully committed to the future, the more it will cost Liverpool.

Either way, I'd take 3 million pounds to quit my job tomorrow.

Well honestly, I quite like my job....

maybe they'd let me take the 3 million and still hang out some....

anxious much?

Cleaning and the gym prevented me from my posting duties last night, hopefully will get around to it after work tonight. But in the mean time I just wanted to say that my nerves are driving me crazy!

Are all Trojans like this right now. Knowing that SC knows the punishments, reading up on predictions - ranging anywhere from major to a slap on the wrist - is driving me crazy! How am I supposed to get through the next two days?!

I suppose I could take the @reggie_bush method, but I don't have another team paying me millions to keep my mind off of the college that I love.

Okay, breaks over, back to work.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Soccer bars

Twitter friend Chris wrote this piece on Soccer Bars in the states. Good read.

World Cup runneth over at U.S. soccer pubs

Because these made me smile!

Quick non-newsy update.

Saw these in the most recent issue of GQ and thought they definitely need to be shared!


I will say, Onyewu's play in the second half of the Turkey v US game definitely helps make these pictures more enjoyable. If he was still shaky, I don't think I'd be as happy.

Promise real posts tonight. Possible topics, reaction to the US game, the basketball players summit, and a tribute to two veterans in honor of Memorial Day.